dpkg-deb [options] command
dpkg-deb packs, unpacks and provides information about Debian archives.
Use dpkg to install and remove packages from your system.
You can also invoke dpkg-deb by calling dpkg with whatever options you
want to pass to dpkg-deb. dpkg will spot that you wanted dpkg-deb and
run it for you.
-b, --build directory [archive|directory]
Creates a debian archive from the filesystem tree stored in
directory. directory must have a DEBIAN subdirectory, which con-
tains the control information files such as the control file
itself. This directory will not appear in the binary package's
filesystem archive, but instead the files in it will be put in
the binary package's control information area.
Unless you specify --nocheck, dpkg-deb will read DEBIAN/control
and parse it. It will check it for syntax errors and other prob-
lems, and display the name of the binary package being built.
dpkg-deb will also check the permissions of the maintainer
scripts and other files found in the DEBIAN control information
If no archive is specified then dpkg-deb will write the package
into the file directory.deb.
If the archive to be created already exists it will be overwrit-
If the second argument is a directory then dpkg-deb will write
to the file package_version_arch.deb, or package_version.deb if
no Architecture field is present in the package control file.
When a target directory is specified, rather than a file, the
--nocheck option may not be used (since dpkg-deb needs to read
and parse the package control file to determine which filename
-I, --info archive [control-file-name...]
Provides information about a binary package archive.
If no control-file-names are specified then it will print a sum-
mary of the contents of the package as well as its control file.
If any control-file-names are specified then dpkg-deb will print
them in the order they were specified; if any of the components
weren't present it will print an error message to stderr about
each one and exit with status 2.
If any are specified then dpkg-deb will print their contents, in
the order in which they appear in the control file. If more than
one control-file-field is specified then dpkg-deb will precede
each with its field name (and a colon and space).
No errors are reported for fields requested but not found.
-c, --contents archive
Lists the contents of the filesystem tree archive portion of the
package archive. It is currently produced in the format gener-
ated by tar's verbose listing.
-x, --extract archive directory
Extracts the filesystem tree from a package archive into the
Note that extracting a package to the root directory will not
result in a correct installation! Use dpkg to install packages.
directory (but not its parents) will be created if necessary,
and its permissions modified to match the contents of the pack-
-X, --vextract archive directory
Is like --extract (-x) but prints a listing of the files
extracted as it goes.
Extracts the filesystem tree data from a binary package and
sends it to standard output in tar format. Together with tar(1)
this can be used to extract a particular file from a package ar-
-e, --control archive [directory]
Extracts the control information files from a package archive
into the specified directory.
If no directory is specified then a subdirectory DEBIAN in the
current directory is used.
The target directory (but not its parents) will be created if
Show the usage message and exit.
Show the version and exit.
Show the copyright licensing terms and exit.
Specify which compression level to pass to the compressor back-
end program, when building a package.
Specify which compression type to use when building a package.
Allowed values are gzip, bzip2, lzma, and none (default is
--new Ensures that dpkg-deb builds a `new' format archive. This is the
--old Forces dpkg-deb to build an `old' format archive. This old ar-
chive format is less easily parsed by non-Debian tools and is
now obsolete; its only use is when building packages to be
parsed by versions of dpkg older than 0.93.76 (September 1995),
which was released as i386 a.out only.
Inhibits dpkg-deb --build's usual checks on the proposed con-
tents of an archive. You can build any archive you want, no mat-
ter how broken, this way.
Enables debugging output. This is not very interesting.
dpkg-deb -I package1.deb package2.deb does the wrong thing.
There is no authentication on .deb files; in fact, there isn't even a
straightforward checksum. (Higher level tools like APT support authen-
ticating .deb packages retrieved from a given repository, and most
packages nowadays provide an md5sum control file generated by
debian/rules. Though this is not directly supported by the lower level
Do not attempt to use just dpkg-deb to install software! You must use
dpkg proper to ensure that all the files are correctly placed and the
package's scripts run and its status and contents recorded.
deb(5), deb-control(5), dpkg(1), dselect(1).
Copyright (C) 1995-1996 Ian Jackson
This is free software; see the GNU General Public Licence version 2 or
later for copying conditions. There is NO WARRANTY.
Debian Project 2009-01-07 dpkg-deb(1)
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